I just finished the remodel of my kitchen. It was a low cost remodel, which basically means that I didn't replace any of the cabinets and I didn't hire anyone else to do the work. I invested a lot of my own time and work into this kitchen. A great deal of the materials were free and I invested a ton of sweat equity. I've been working on this kitchen since this summer, so you can probably imagine how relieved I am to be done with it finally. I didn't take before and after pictures, so it's kind of difficult to understand the extent of the change by looking at the way it is now, but believe me, it was very bad before I started.
My wife has been on my back to get it done since we moved in, ummm...three years ago. The kitchen cabinets were all wood. Not that great natural wood color, but a grungy dark wood color that offset the bright yellow countertops perfectly. My wife had taken all of the hardware from the cabinets and painted it silver, but I couldn't handle it. I had to take it all off to give the cabinets a nice clean look. I replaced the old stainless sink with a nice white one, replaced the faucet and refaced the countertops to give the kitchen some contrast. The backsplash was a last minute change from the tile I had planned and is actually quite shiny due to the flash, but I'm pleased with how it turned out.
The floor was actually the reason I started the whole project. It seems that there was a leak under the sink at some point before we moved in that wasn't readily apparant when we bought the house. The previous owner had covered it up well. The floor had new linoleum, but the subfloor was weakened from the water damage so it began to sag not long after we moved in. Then our washer, which I had to leave in the kitchen because my wife is afraid of the basement, began leaking. This only served to compound the problem. Hence, the new flooring.
This flooring was actually in a store at one point. It was ripped out and I got it for free from a guy who does clean-outs on foreclosure properties. There was a lot of it, so I was able to use the best pieces to do my floor. I did this entire floor by hand with a hardwood floor stapler and a 5lb hammer. There are almost 2500 nails in this floor!! It won't be going anywhere, anytime soon, I can assure you of that. After hours of cutting, hammering, sanding, staining and refinishing, the floor was complete. It was some very hard work and I'd do it all over again because I loved doing the work. I was making my own home a better place to live.
After I finally finished all this work, I was standing back and looking at the finished product when I began to think about how often this type of job gets done. I'm in houses all the time that have been remodeled, but very often for a different reason. I was doing my work out of the desire to make my house a more enjoyable house to live in. I was building a home. Others do it to build equity. It's all dollars and cents in the end.
Where have the days gone when men would build their home, not just for themselves, but for their generations to come? It's been said many times. We live in a disposable society. Everything is about the return on the investment these days. We don't build homes to live in and pass on to our next generation. We build homes to build equity these days. When something goes wrong and we find ourselves in a negative equity situation, we are advised to walk away from it. We are taught not to build an attachment to our investment, in case we need to let go of it some day.
I believe this is the reason we are in the foreclosure situation we're in these days. Home is no longer where the heart is. It's where the ATM is. We build equity so we can draw it out later, whenever the urge hits us to buy something that we can't afford. We stretch those limits until the ATM is as broke as we are and then we're just one small hiccup away from disaster. But it's ok. We never got attached to the investment we held, so it's so much easier to walk away.
We need to change our approach to buying a house. Yes, it is an investment, but above all else, it should be a home for our families and a blessing to our future generations.
Until next time...
My name is Andrew Trevino. I am a Realtor, working in the Wilkes-Barre, PA area, and I'm affiliated with Realty World, Rubbico Real Estate. Thanks for investing your time in reading my blog. If you're interested in contacting me, please visit my website at http://www.wilkesbarrehomesales.com/